A/N: Alrighty, folks, this here is a shiny little piece that was requested of me… a long time ago. I'm not saying when because it's rather embarrassing how long it's taken me to get it done. Anyway, requested by RainingArrows, she wanted some L / OC fluff, taking place in the early days of Wammy's. Hopefully this fits the bill.
When finding references for when L first arrived at the Wammy House, I used a five page doujin written by Tsugumi Ohba and drawn up by Takeshi Obata by the name of "L – The Wammy's House" rather than the very brief glimpse seen in the anime. It's adorable, so if you can find it, I recommend a read. :)
Music: Fuori Dal Mondo by Ludovico Einaudi.
Disclaimer: Death Note and related characters © Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
When the new boy arrived at Wammy Asylum, Sophie was in her room, watching him come up the driveway from the vantage point of a second story window. He was a scrawny lad in a pair of jeans and white shirt both so big that the cuffs covered feet and hands, and the collar of his shirt dipped well below his chin. He had black, messy hair and a pale face with wide, wide eyes that stared round at everything as he walked. It was hard to tell from her window, but he might have been Asian, his features were about right for it.
He trailed along after the gently aging Asylum patriarch, Quillish Wammy, approaching the group of fellow youngsters who had gathered on the doorstep to meet the new addition. A few, like Sophie, had opted to remain indoors and meet him later. The Asylum was still relatively new, so it couldn't be called a tradition, but it was the regular practice to welcome any new face as warmly as possible. Only those of a shy or completely antisocial nature chose not to.
It wasn't a large Asylum, nor was it full as yet. Mr. Wammy seemed to be rather particular about the kinds of orphans he would take in, a strange attitude to have for an Asylum. Not that she knew precisely what it was Mr. Wammy looked for in his foundlings, no one seemed to share a particular trait so far as she could tell. They were all different ages, colors and temperaments, so whatever Mr. Wammy was using as qualifiers was something unseen. Perhaps how they became orphans was the deciding factor. It wouldn't be so strange for an Asylum to prioritize children from particularly difficult circumstances… though Sophie wouldn't classify her own as being any more difficult than those of other orphans.
She shrugged to herself and hugged her small teddy bear closer. Not that it really mattered to her. She was here until a family adopted her or she turned sixteen, whichever came first. Until then she had a roof and food, which was enough.
The new boy and Mr. Wammy had made it all the way up the gravel drive to the small crowd and the elder man was making introductions. It was impossible to hear from the second floor and behind the glass, but from the motions being made, the group on the doorstep was told the new boy's name while the group was probably referred to as 'everyone'. The boy, whatever his name was, was holding himself apart from the mob and was either sucking or chewing on a thumb.
Sophie watched through her window, holding her bear and fiddling with a loose button on her vest as Mr. Wammy squeezed through the press of children to the door. The new boy didn't follow, apparently not wanting to come any closer to the wall of peers. One boy, Sophie thought she recognized him as one of the older ones named Bernard, detached himself from the rest and approached the new boy, who leaned away slightly. Bernard had his back to the house, so she couldn't attempt any lip reading, and when the new boy replied he spoke around his thumb, wide eyes fixed unblinkingly on Bernard's face. Sophie shivered a little at the stare, even though she wasn't the object of it.
She was just turning away, having gotten her look at the newbie, when there was a commotion even she could hear. Whipping back around she saw a scuffle had broken out, involving every one of the kids out there, with the new boy at the center of it all. Sophie stared. There were fights from time to time in the Asylum, but she'd never seen one start so quickly. But… the longer she looked, the more it seemed that most of the participants were trying to get away, but were getting in each other's way.
It was over almost as abruptly as it started. The new boy was the only one left standing. Everyone else had either run away or been thrown to the ground. He brought his thumb back up to his mouth, the collar of his shirt slipped over one bony shoulder.
Mr. Wammy came charging back out, surveying the damage, obviously upset and throwing questions at the boy. Unconcern writ in every line, the boy craned his neck to look back and up at the flapping adult and said something indistinguishable. Then his eyes went from staring blankly at Mr. Wammy to staring at something above and behind him.
Sophie ducked away from the window, heart pounding when she realized the stare had settled on her! Whatever else the new boy turned out to be like, she did not want him annoyed with her!
After that first, memorable glimpse of the new boy, Sophie didn't see him again for almost a week. Besides the mutterings from those who experienced his introduction to the Asylum firsthand, she heard nothing about him, either. Not a word on which room he was staying in, what classes he would take, if anyone else had even seen him, much less what he was like. It was as though he'd disappeared entirely, which might not have been so far-fetched, given his behavior on his first day. No one had been seriously hurt, but there were plenty of bruises and scrapes to go around.
Sophie was still unclear as to what started the brief fight just outside the Asylum's doors. She'd asked around a little, but no answer cast the incident into clearer light. From what she'd been able to gather, the group had gathered round the new boy, Bernard had introduced himself – no one had been able to hear the new boy's reply – and as they had begun to approach closer en masse to introduce themselves and make friends, the new boy just attacked everyone! No one had said anything threatening or mean or had even gotten close enough to touch him when he'd suddenly gone mad. And in the past week, no one seemed to have made any efforts to find him again.
Not that Sophie blamed them in the least. If he was so unpredictable, she wasn't sure she wanted to meet him up close, either. It was just her luck, and not the result of any effort on her part, that she stumbled on him six days after his arrival.
Since Mr. Wammy had come and put his name on the Asylum's sign that hung on the heavy, wrought iron fence outside, the rules the children had to abide by had become much easier. There still were rules, of course, things like proper diets, sensible bedtimes, so many hours of schoolwork for everyone, but there were more desserts with dinner now. Later bedtimes for the older children, more interesting schoolwork, and more breaks than before. Even so, some things still got you punished if you were caught. Such as sneaking snacks from the kitchen between meals, especially if the snack in question happened to be the carefully hoarded chocolate bars on the top shelf of the tallest cupboards. Even the adults needed a chair to reach that shelf, but Sophie thought she just might be able to catch a corner of the chocolate box with the extra-long ladle if she used a stool instead of a chair and stood on tiptoe. With the prize of a box of chocolate all to herself, it was worth a shot.
She timed her adventure carefully, only making her furtive way to the kitchen when she was sure it would be empty of both cooks and cleaning staff. The second challenge was to make sure no one saw her going in that direction, either. If she were seen going to the kitchen and later the chocolates were missing, it wouldn't take much to figure out where they went. It was simplified by Mr. Wammy choosing that time to unveil a treat for his wards: a brand new PlayStation. With everyone fully engrossed with that, it was much easier to slip away unnoticed.
She was just pushing open the kitchen door, trying not to giggle with glee as her heart thumped away with the thrill of subterfuge, when she nearly blew it all by shrieking. She managed to catch herself and only gave a strangled squawk at what greeted her in the kitchen.
There was another orphan in the kitchen before her, and none other than the heretofore invisible new boy. He'd obviously come to the kitchens for the same illicit reasons she had, and though it was hard to tell from his bland expression, she was probably as unexpected to him as he was to her. The reason she was most surprised, and how she could tell at a glance what he had been up to, was the fact that he was hanging upside down from the tallest cupboard by his knees.
Either this was his idea of fun, or he had tried to climb the cupboards like a monkey to get to the treats at the top. And had failed miserably.
The children stared at each other silently, unsure of how to proceed. After a moment Sophie realized that her mouth was hanging open and closed it, then did the same with the door behind her. The new boy watched her, able to see her perfectly well as those particular cupboards were directly across from the door. His mouth was set in a line and his black eyes were flat, but any kind of intimidation Sophie might have felt under that stare was negated a bit by his position. It was hard to feel afraid of a little boy hanging upside down five feet off the floor by having his legs wedged in a cupboard. It didn't help also that he made no attempt to fight gravity, so his arms swayed loosely over his head, his hair waved in erratic spikes and his tent-like shirt was gathered right at his chin, leaving his skinny, pale belly exposed.
It was hard to be afraid of a glare when it was coming from something like that. In fact, as she approached, Sophie was finding it harder and harder not to laugh.
Slowly she came closer, taking in more of the silly scene as she did; the boy's eyes following her every step. Unable to stop the grin from showing or to keep the restrained giggles out of her voice, she called up, "What are you doing?"
The boy's expression didn't change, except maybe to become a little stonier. Sophie hid a giggle behind her hand. "I," he said with great dignity, "am hanging upside-down." His voice was surprisingly mature sounding.
Sophie bit the inside of her cheek to stem any further laughter. "Why?" was all she could get out without breaking down completely.
"Because I slipped," was the reply, deadpan in defiance of its owner's position.
"You slipped," she repeated, taking deep breaths between stifled chuckles. "While you were trying to get the candy at the top, huh?"
The new boy paused, seeming to consider this carefully before answering. "Yes," he said finally. If he was at all repentant, or worried that Sophie would run off to tattle to one of the adults, he didn't show it. Sophie wondered about that, but only briefly. Anyone who could beat up more than a dozen kids, many of them older and bigger than himself, probably wouldn't be worried about one skinny girl telling tales about robbing chocolates.
She walked closer carefully, cautious more for the possibility the boy might fall on her than anything else. "Did you get any of them?" she asked, grinning mischievously.
The boy sighed, thin chest rising and falling like a tiny bellows. He pouted, the first real expression she had seen on him. "No," he said sulkily. Then quickly added, "But I was close!"
"Uh-huh," Sophie tilted her head, looking to see how exactly the boy had got himself caught. From the looks of it, his lower legs had slipped straight across one shelf, and as his body swung down, his feet had wedged up against the shelf above. He was lucky not to have just fallen to the floor and cracked his head, which was probably why he hadn't tried getting himself free yet. "How are you going to get down?"
Straining, he curled up to look at his legs disappeared into the cupboard, then swung downward again. He twisted to one side, carefully, then to the other. He arched his back, looking just below him to the countertop, then to the floor. By stretching he could just reach the counter. Using fingertips, he pushed into it. That loosened the pressure and stability of his trapped legs and he wobbled dangerously, making Sophie hold her breath. The boy stopped, and then looked at her.
"With help?" he suggested.
In the end Sophie had to use a chair to climb up onto the counter and then lift the boy's torso up by looping her arms under his while he kicked his feet free. It was scary holding a squirming boy as big as she was while standing on a narrow bit of counter, but they both got to the floor without falling.
Once there, the two of them stood and stared at each other again. The boy nibbled at one thumb, making it look as though he were sucking it. With his overlarge clothing, he looked about three years old, when in reality he was probably about eight. Sophie fiddled with one of the buttons on the vest she wore over her dress, waiting for the boy to speak first. When minutes stretched by with nothing from him but more of the same unblinking stare, Sophie pointed out, rather sharply, "You should say 'thank you', you know."
Finally the boy gave her a slow, owlish blink. He looked up at the cupboard where he had so recently been trapped, then back to her. He removed his hand from his mouth long enough to mumble "Thank you," then replaced it again.
Sophie pulled a face. Did he have to chew on his finger like that? "My name is Sophie," she offered. "Sophie Chadwick." She started to extend her hand to him, and then realized she would be shaking a hand covered in drool if he took it. She let it drop to her side again quickly.
The boy only stared, not replying.
"What's your name?" she prompted him.
He tilted his head at her, and spoke around his hand without removing it from his mouth. "L."
"Elle?" Sophie repeated, confused. "Isn't that a girl's name?"
"Is it?" the hand dropped away from 'Elle's' lips as he looked down at himself, bending to see his toes and twisting around to view the back of himself. "I must be a girl, then," he said, sounding not the least bit perturbed.
The short brunette looked him up and down carefully. There was no way to tell for sure without using some very embarrassing methods, but she was pretty sure 'Elle' was a boy. She hoped he was a boy. Otherwise, 'she' was a very unfortunate girl. "Noooo…" she called his attention back. "You're a boy. Why were you named Elle?"
'Elle', probably-boy, maybe-girl, shrugged his (or possibly her) shoulders. "I don't know. Maybe because they liked the sound of it. Or they couldn't think of more than one letter when they named me."
"One letter?" It was Sophie's turn to tilt her head. "What do you mean?"
"My name, it's only one letter," L explained. "L. Like: L, M, N, O, P. But just L, not all the others."
"But- but that's silly! You can't have one letter for a name…"
"Because—" Sophie stopped, realizing that she didn't actually have a reason in mind why a single letter couldn't also be a name. It was just one of those things, wasn't it? You never met people called A, B, or C, it would be like being introduced to alphabet soup. And why 'L', of all letters? Why not… why not… Her thought ran aground as it dawned on her that while there was no particular reason she could think of why someone would have the letter 'L' as a name, the same was true for every other letter as well. None of it made sense! "Because letters aren't names!" she finished, falling back on the 'just because' way of reasoning.
L thought this over carefully before replying. When he spoke, there was something in his tone that put Sophie on guard. It was the same kind of tone adults sometimes used when they were explaining things, like you were only a two-year-old. "Is 'Sophie' a name?"
"Of course it is!"
"How do you spell it?"
"S – O – P – H – I – E." Sophie said promptly, with a hint of pride. Her name wasn't easy to spell.
L paused, staring. "Those are all letters, aren't they?"
Now Sophie paused, seeing the trap that had been laid out for her, but which she had no choice but to keep walking into. "Ye-es…"
"Your name is made of letters, which means letters are your name. My name is a letter; letters are names, so my letter is a name." L smiled, pleased with his reasoning.
Sophie thought of arguing more, then sighed and gave in. What did it matter, anyway? So his name was L. There were stranger things in the world, and more important things to occupy her attention. Chocolate, for one. "How close did you get to the candy?"
His face darkened, lower lip pushing out in a pout. "Very close. My fingers touched the box."
Sophie gave first L, then the counter and the cupboard a measuring look. He was fairly tall, even if he was skinny… "Do you know what a ladle looks like?"
Wammy Asylum was unlike any other place L had ever been before. It was large and rambling, with a seemingly infinite number of rooms, passages, nooks, crannies and corners in which to explore. There were boxes upon boxes of toys to play with, his favorites being puzzles, and there was an entire room stuffed full of books to read. There was good food to eat at every meal, which came regularly and often. There was an unbelievable amount of freedom to roam, to read, or do whatever he wanted so long as he behaved… Yes, it was a very different place than what he was accustomed to.
And there were other children, too, most of them hovering about the same age he was. L wasn't sure how he felt about the presence of so many peers. He was more used to the company of adults, whenever he was in the company of another human being at all. Being in a place full up of high-spirited youngsters was a new experience, and one he didn't really relish. Whether it was one he might have eventually become adapted to was somewhat academic at this point. His introduction to the general population of the Asylum had left them all with some very strong, negative impressions of him, and they gave L a wide berth even now. L didn't regret that, given the choice he would have avoided them, as well. With no one forcing the interaction, L was more than happy to let it slip him by entirely.
He'd been given his own room – another new experience! – which he was free to spend as much time in as he wanted so long as food and studies weren't neglected. L only left his room to explore when he knew the rest of the Asylum's wards would be out of his path and he could creep by unnoticed. When his privacy was assured, then he would explore his new home and the grounds surrounding it, nosing into every corner in search of distraction and entertainment, anything to occupy his mind.
For since coming to the Asylum, L had felt somewhat like a sponge that had been left out to dry, suddenly plunged back into a bucket of water. His mind was simply absorbing everything that was thrown at it, never seeming to fill completely. There was always more room, and now he had started to fill his brain, it was demanding more and more to keep it satisfied. He had always known that he was smarter than what was average, and at the Asylum, with access to so much knowledge and information, the space between his ears was beginning to feel like a beehive, buzzing with ideas. He blazed through the basic curriculum at a speed that left the instructors dizzy. He pored over an esoteric collection of thick books hidden in the library, the most interesting of which migrated to L's nightstand. Small electronics that found their way into L's hands quickly found themselves taken apart piece by piece and examined. Gardens were dug up, the plants themselves dissected in the name of furthering science. Or at least one small boy's grasp of it. And all of it done quietly, almost sneakily, to avoid the horde that consisted of the Wammy orphans.
All save one, that is.
For some reason Sophie, the small girl he'd met in the kitchens on his first attempt at sneaking chocolates decided that she enjoyed hanging around with him, even if what he was doing was a solitary occupation. She would follow him about, silent or chattering, depending on how responsive he was. She was disconcertingly good at being present whenever he emerged from his room. How she managed was a mystery to him, and he never asked her.
On the whole, though, L found he didn't mind the company of one small girl so much. She was good at reading L's mood, at least to the extent of how social he was, and took her cues from him, so it never felt intrusive to have her nearby. And besides, she had helped him in getting the chocolate down from the cupboard. Even if she had taken a portion for herself, that was worth a little pestering.
As she became more of a familiar figure to him, her one-sided ramblings became two-sided conversations. They mostly revolved around their lives as they were now: the Asylum, the other children, the food they had to eat, things they enjoyed doing. From time to time, stories would surface from before they had been orphans, mostly from Sophie. Not that she talked about herself a great deal, but L was less open than she was.
Both of her parents had been involved in theater somehow – she had been too young to know what it was they had done specifically – and both had died in a car wreck when driving on slick, icy roads. That had been two years ago, and Sophie had lived at the Asylum ever since. When she was telling that story had paused significantly at the end, obviously awaiting L's background in return for hers', but he'd been deliberately vague. He didn't even like to think about what his life had been before, much less talk about it. What he gave her were some sketchy recollections of what his parents had looked like and what kind of neighborhood he'd lived in. Whether his parents were alive or dead he didn't know, and told the girl as much. She didn't probe that particular sore spot any further.
Of course, through the alchemy that was childish conversation, talking about one's parents who were deceased led to the topic of the afterlife, and by extension, religious beliefs. L, for his own part, was still deciding what he believed, but doubted he would ever really be sure in his own mind of what awaited after death. At least not until after he was dead. Sophie, on the other hand, had some definite opinions, and made no issue about sharing them.
"Nothing that we see and feel here is real," she said matter-of-factly as she stretched high to place a building block atop a structure made of many others. She was so careful that there wasn't the tiniest shudder from the building.
L eyed the construction they were piecing together, and then Sophie from his place on the floor. Clear blue eyes watched him frankly from a face smattered with freckles, as though what had just passed her lips had been no more than a list of what they could expect at dinner. L looked down to the floor around his feet, where he was arranging future blocks by size, shape and order of when they were to be added. Under the concealment of his bangs, he frowned and titled his head. "It all seems very real to me," he said doubtfully, picking up one block and rolling it in his fingers.
"No," she said authoritatively. "It seems real, but it isn't. All of this," she waved one hand to take in the room around them, "it's all fake, like a giant dream we all share together. What is really real is much bigger, and everything here is all…" she paused, groping for the right word. "Not important," she finished. She stared at the towers of blocks, idly fiddling with the buttons of one of the many sweat vests she always wore. "When we die," she continued quietly, "all we're really doing is waking up. No one is really gone forever; they're just done with the dream, and are waiting for everyone else to wake up, too."
L said nothing, but watched the serene expression on the girl's face with an unexpected swell of envy. The naiveté of her philosophy, and the innocent but brazen way in which she swept aside all of the suffering experienced by herself or others as 'nothing important' was galling. L had felt himself become rigid, his emotions hardening toward her as she, with only a few words, condemned all he had gone through as mere dream-fluff. But as she continued, her face taking on the soft look of a chronic daydreamer, it became more understandable why this had become her life's philosophy. It gave her a small escape from reality, to a place where even after death, everything would be alright.
Looking at his own life, he couldn't begrudge her that comfort.
Sophie suddenly broke into a wide grin, startling him. "And, since this is all just a dream, and doesn't really matter, that means we can so whatever we want!"
L didn't hide his frown this time. "Does that mean doing bad things, too?"
She nodded. "Yep. If it's a dream, then why not?"
L's frown deepened. Sophie didn't strike him as the type of person to go out and cause trouble. She seemed more the sort to find a quiet place to herself and let trouble pass her by while she found something interesting to do on her own. In the days and weeks of being followed around, L had a fairly good understanding of her personality, and she had grown on him, as well. He found that if he didn't enjoy her company so much that he would seek it out himself, he was no longer merely tolerating it, either. The thought that she might deliberately go out and cause mischief was more than a little disheartening. He may not have strong views on the hereafter, but he did on ethics.
"So does that mean you'll be doing bad things?" he asked, voice flat.
The quick reply caught him by surprise, making him blurt out, "Why not?"
The girl shrugged. "Because I don't want to."
Making friends, if that's what Sophie could be called, was strange. But he had a feeling that it was Sophie herself that was strangest of all.
Save for the times when she trailed after him, L had never seen her in the company of any other orphan, not even other girls. Any time he stumbled across her before she found him, she was by herself, reading, drawing, or just staring off into space. He would have expected her to be running off all of the energy she never got to use when she was with him. The most energetic thing they did while together was run once or twice outside, hardly the amount the expenditure needed for a young girl. Though, if he were to also look at himself honestly, then neither of them got the amount of exercise one would think necessary, and so both of them were strange in that regard.
Though L liked to believe he worked off any excess energy mentally. After all, the brain, while taking up only 2% of the body's weight, used 20% of its oxygen. Using your brain was exercise and required energy to do so.
Eventually, not even all of the puzzles and games in the Asylum could keep him entertained, nor all of the books in the library fully hold his attention. He needed to find a pastime that was new, and used his mind. The problem stuck with him for some time. His curriculum increased in difficulty, but that didn't ease his mounting frustration. None of the suggestions from Quillish helped, and no amount of rummaging in the Asylum's dusty corners turned up anything complex enough, only spiders and moldering wallpaper.
It wasn't until one of those rare occasions when he was in the same vicinity as other orphans of the Asylum that he found a solution. He tried to avoid the other children – and they did the same with him – so he ducked around a corner to let them to pass by without being spotted. There were a few of them, maybe four, and they were all talking together. As they approached what they were saying became clearer and L heard one of them complaining that he'd lost a prized toy, and suspected that it had been stolen. The others were consoling, but not very helpful for the first's predicament.
They passed L's hiding place without noticing him, alternately bemoaning the toy's loss or offering advice. Behind them, the small boy with ragged hair and too-long sleeves smiled quietly.
Within two days the boy who had lost his toy woke to find it on his bedside table, the boy who had stolen it spent his morning tearing his room apart in search of it, and Roger, the new administrator, received a well-written note detailing the escapade, including the name of the thief; but not the name of who had found the toy or wrote the note. For his first case, L considered it well done. He was especially proud that Sophie had been unaware of it all, despite being with him throughout it all.
However, it didn't take her very long to notice as L went through the Asylum searching for more cases. And once she was aware, she insisted on 'helping' him with every problem he took on. Out of the entire Asylum, she was the only one who knew that it was him looking out for the others.
But that didn't last too long, either, as even this new distraction lost its challenge, and L began searching for something even harder, via the off-limits computer and its net access. Someone else noticed, and opened up a whole new chapter of L's life.
Stairs are uncomfortable. This was something Sophie had discovered several hours ago, sitting on the bottom step of the flight leading to the second floor, watching the front door. She could have gone to get a pillow, but that would have meant leaving the door unguarded, and she had no intention of doing that.
For the past few weeks L had been acting strangely – more strangely than usual. She was used to his particular habits by now, the odd walking and posture, the late, late nights she could only sit partway through, the logic puzzles and number games that were his favorite diversion, and she had also taken his new hobby of solving little mysteries that popped up in the Asylum. That had been a passion of L's for quite some time; one Sophie had been sure would only run out when the mysteries did. He spent more energy on untangling the problems of his peers than on anything else, though he never indulged in one-on-one contact with anyone, keeping his own involvement a secret by solving from around the edges or – rarely – sending Sophie to ask the questions. She didn't always understand how he reached his conclusions, but he had been right every time so far, and every time his face had lit with a smile she never saw on him any other time. And he would say, every time, 'I am justice,' like it was the final move of a game, like saying 'checkmate.'
Now… now Sophie didn't know where L's focus was anymore. He still solved the little cases of Wammy Asylum, but his passion for it had dimmed considerably. He was no longer so eager to find the next once one was over, and the phrase 'I am justice' was sounding hollower with every repetition. Sophie wanted to know why. L wouldn't lose interest in one thing without transferring it to something else. Something had to be replacing his mystery solving.
And there was the issue of where he was disappearing to.
At least once a week, more often two or three times in a seven day span, L would vanish. For hours or full days, L would disappear and then reappear with no explanation. At first Sophie had no idea at all where he was going, but now she knew that it was Mr. Wammy taking him and then bringing him back. What was more, L knew she knew Mr. Wammy was taking him somewhere, and still hadn't said a word about it. Why was he being taken for such long stretches of time so frequently, why was he becoming so indifferent about the things that used to energize him, and why hadn't he told her anything? She had one or two ideas of her own – she hadn't spent so much time around L without learning something – but she was determined he would be answering some of her questions before the day was out.
It was another hour before the front door swung open, letting the small boy into the front hall. Sophie jumped up from her seat, legs protesting sharply, to confront her friend. She was surprised that Mr. Wammy wasn't with him, but didn't let it distract her for more than a moment.
"Where have you been all day?" she demanded, advancing on the boy. "You've missed all of today's classes, you left without saying goodbye again, and I've been bored silly waiting for you to come back!"
L didn't seem startled to see her or by her outburst, but then, he hardly ever looked surprised at anything. It was hard to get his face to shift from bland observation. "I'm sorry you were bored all day," he said quietly as Sophie caught her breath. "And that I didn't say goodbye. Why didn't you find something to do without me?"
"Because I was too worried about you," she retorted, not entirely truthfully. As long as he was with Mr. Wammy there was little to worry about, she had been more worried about missing him when he came back. "Where have you been?"
The look that came into L's eye was one that Sophie had come to recognize, one she never liked to see turned on her. It was shuttered, and stubborn. It was a guarded look, one that told her very clearly that she could expect very little from the boy. What he said confirmed that rather neatly: "I was with Mr. Wammy all day."
Sophie sighed, a frustrated little huff, and wondered if there was any point in arguing further. She wanted to know everything that was going on, but she also realized that pushing too hard when L was in this mood would probably only be counter-productive. He would only withhold more the more she badgered him. It might be a better plan to wait until he was less guarded and maybe get an answer out of him if she caught him unbalanced. "And did you have a good time?" she asked to keep the momentum up while she decided where to take the conversation.
The change in his face was startling. It lit up with the same light it once did for their detective games. "Yes! Our field trips are always fun."
"Field trips?" Sophie echoed. "Like school field trips?"
His demeanor flip-flopped 180 degrees again, closing down as one hand rose up to his mouth to nibble at a thumb nail. "Something like that," he admitted. "They are always educational."
Sophie frowned at the clue L had provided her with, and then filed it away with a shake of her head. L might tell her what was going on eventually, but until then she would try to figure it out on her own. "Fine. Whatever."
"Have you done anything with our latest case while I was gone?" he asked, suddenly changing topics.
Sophie, still feeling used, grumbled out her answer. "No. I was sitting here."
"It's a serious matter," L said admonishingly. "One where time plays a vital role. We must determine the true facts of it, every life within the Asylum may depend upon it!"
Sophie gave him a look. "You can't really believe that one of the cooks is poisoning the food." It was one of those wild, stupid rumors that popped up wherever there were large collections of children: that the lunch lady or the janitor or the groundskeeper or some adult slightly outside the core group was out to kill them. L happened to overhear one of those rumors as it was whispered down the lunch line and latched on to it firmly. Much to Sophie's disgust.
L drew himself up to his full, if negligible, height. "As investigators, it's our duty to look into all complaints as seriously as any other until it is proven to be legitimate or not." A small smile crept over his face. "Though even I'll say it's not very likely. And we won't find many clues today, it's the dinner staff working now, it was the lunch staff that was the trouble. Besides," his eyes lit up, "I have another case to check out for tonight. Poisoned food can wait until morning."
Despite herself, Sophie perked up. "A new case?"
There was a reason for this, Sophie assured herself. There was a reason for everything that L did, and it was always a good, logical reason, even if it wasn't immediately obvious. Even if they didn't agree with the logic provided, the logic was there, and solid enough in its own way. Sophie just had to trust that what he had dragged her into was just as reasonably thought out and safe as anything he'd done before. Stifling the whimper trying to claw its way out of her throat, she gripped the back of L's ghostly white shirt and followed him closely as they climbed up the steep steps to the Asylum attics.
It was late; much later than the final curfew and the halls and stairs were pitch dark. Their only light came from L's little flashlight, the yellowish circle it cast bouncing and swaying from side to side ahead of them like some mischievous sprite, leading them ever deeper into the dark. Though, despite how much the light shook, nothing much beyond what they needed to see in order to place their feet ever seemed to be revealed. Sophie wished L would use it to scan around and light up everything. The shadows, out of the corners of her eyes, were becoming horrible apparitions under the solitary influence of her imagination. Though she could guess why he wasn't bothering with chasing shadows. L could be very single-minded, and stray shadows probably weren't even registering with him in relation to their larger goal. No, only she was bothered by the oppressive darkness, left to speculate what sorts of apparitions were lurking just outside her vision, what they were doing behind her back after she passed them by…
Sophie shivered and inched closer to L for the questionable protection to be found there – and nearly sent them both sprawling when she tripped over his feet. She fell to one knee, jarring painfully on the hard wood steps, but L caught himself before going down and kept Sophie from going down completely with his empty hand. "Alright?" he whispered.
"Yes," she hissed back harshly. She took a deep breath, trying to slow down her heart to where it didn't feel like it was about to explode. A tumble in blackness when your adrenaline was already high was like finishing a sprint. "Do we have to do this?"
She couldn't see L's face in the dark, but she could imagine the frown creasing his features. "Of course," he replied quietly. "A mystery has been brought to our attention, it must be solved."
Sophie grunted, standing back up on the stairs carefully. "I know that," she said, though privately she had to wonder why they had to solve this case so desperately. It's not as though anyone expected them to, no one even knew they were here. "I meant do we have to do this now?"
L was silent for a minute. Since he was still aiming the beam of the flashlight down, Sophie could only guess what his expression was now. "You can go back if you're afraid," he said at last.
Sophie's head jerked up at that, stung. "What? No!" She brushed off L's supporting hand and stood up straight as she could. "I'm not scared." She drew a deep breath. "Let's get this done with so we can get back to our rooms."
L only hesitated a moment longer before the circle of light swung back to the front and the boy continued the climb upwards. Sophie fell back into step behind him, her injured pride acting as a buffer for her fear.
She understood why they were doing this at night, of course, instead of in the morning when it was light. Their newest 'case' was the investigation of a supposed ghost haunting the attic. The rumors floating around about it were sketchy at best. There was some story about a child who had gotten locked in and died of hunger, or possibly had been crazy and deliberately locked away, or possibly had been murdered up there. Depending on who you listened to, the spirit's background and cause of death varied. As for what it did in the here and now, the spirit rattled around the attic late at night, waking those whose bedroom lay just below, and anyone who dared to go up to investigate was confronted by a pair of glowing eyes floating through the air.
It was so little to go on that Sophie had scoffed at the legend itself and at L for wanting to chase it up. It was silly, it would amount to nothing, and L would be left feeling ridiculous.
That's how she had felt during the day, with late afternoon light streaming in through the windows. Then the idea of spirits or ghosts had seemed as far-fetched as it was possible to be. Now, past midnight, armed with only a single flashlight with half-dead batteries and every step taking them closer to the glowing-eyed ghost, it felt considerably more plausible.
Still, she couldn't go back now. If for no other reason, L had the only flashlight. No way was she trekking back on her own in the dark.
So she followed, telling herself that the grip she kept on the back of L's shirt was more to steady herself and keep from running into him in the dark again than out of any need for reassurance.
All too soon they reached the attic. The door wasn't even locked to keep out explorers such as themselves. That, to Sophie's way of thinking, was rather irresponsible. The hinges failed to creak ominously, but they didn't need to for shivers to run up her spine. In daylight the attic was probably no more than an overcrowded, dusty storage space, filled with relics of the Asylum's past. Under the insufficient illumination of L's torch, stacks of boxes became towering obstructions, riddled with corners, furniture draped with sheets moved unnervingly in an unfelt draft, floorboards beneath their feet creaked with every step.
L didn't even pause on the threshold. He walked in, slowly but self-assuredly, sweeping the light from side to side as he went. Sophie had only a vague idea of what they were going to be doing to either prove or disprove the spirit in the attic. When L had explained it, it had just been 'seek out the spirit and resolve the rumors' with no real specifics. She liked to think that L had some sort of master plan in mind, but there was no real way of telling.
With Sophie following faithfully, L did a full search of the room, shining the light around and into every corner, under every sheet and beneath every stick of furniture. The exploration of the room did little to quell Sophie's fear. If anything, the longer they remained, the more she felt that they were pressing their luck.
"We haven't found anything," she whispered urgently, her knuckles gone white with the pressure of her grip. "Can we go now?"
She felt more than saw him shake his head. "We still haven't proven if there's a ghost or not. We just know that we can't see it by conducting a physical search."
"Does it really matter?" she asked desperately, trying to get as close to L's back as possible without actually climbing on top of him. "I mean, it's not like ghosts are an investigator's job. It's different rules for ghosts."
L drew himself up to his full, unimpressive height. "Not even spirits can escape the ideal of justice!" he said loudly into the dark. Sophie cringed at the volume, but he wasn't done yet. With his voice raised so loudly Sophie was sure he was shouting, when actually he was just speaking a little louder than at a conversational tone, he addressed the possible spirit. "Ghost! If you're really here, I demand that you show yourself! Your haunting has gone on long enough; it is time to move on!"
Sophie held her breath, every nerve and sense straining for any response from beyond, while at the same time really, really hoping one never came.
They stood, waiting, listening and watching silently for a ghostly reply. A minute passed, then two with nothing but strained nerves to show for it. Sophie was finally beginning to relax, her possible belief in a haunted attic lessened, when L pointed to one side.
Sophie looked, and nearly wet her pants in fright. On one side of the room – the side with the door – in an extremely dark patch of night, were pair of large, yellow, glowing eyes, staring straight at them. Sophie tried to scream, but it just came out as a strangled squeak as her throat constricted.
Staring fixedly at those terrible eyes, she didn't notice at first when L began moving away from her. When she did, and saw that he was walking straight toward those eyes, she tried to hold him back by the handful of white shirt she still had in her hand.
He pulled away from her easily and approached the eyes slowly. Sophie was left alone in the middle of the floor, feeling terribly vulnerable, but refusing to get any closer to the spirit and its lambent stare. Halfway between Sophie and the spirit the torch light swung up from its place on the floor to point at the eyes. L, standing directly between her and the spirit, was blocking whatever view there might have been, so Sophie couldn't see what L saw, what it was that made him pause, then approach even more cautiously, murmuring something quietly as he did so.
Sophie's heart felt like it was going to give out any moment, it was beating so fast. She tried to call L back, back to her and away from the spirit, but her throat was still tight, the words refused to come out.
L closed the gap. Sophie held her breath.
"It's alright," L called after a torturous pause. "The case is solved. There is no ghost."
"No ghost?" Sophie's voice finally came out, a high-pitched peep, "Then what is it?"
L turned around, one hand holding the torch, the other arm crooked to hold something close to his body. He angled the light so it shone on that something and Sophie could see what it was. She forgot all of her terror in a moment.
"It's a kitten," L said needlessly.
Curled in L's arm was one of the cutest and fluffiest kittens she had ever seen. All long gray tabby fur and big yellow eyes, Sophie fell in love with it instantly. As she stroked the little thing's head and scratched its ears, eliciting a tiny little purr, she hoped the Asylum allowed pets, because she intended to keep it.
In the end there was no issue over the cat, whose name quite naturally became Ghost. The morning after their adventure in the attic, L and Sophie had made Roger's office their first visit, before breakfast and before lessons, and had attracted the attention of half the child population along the way, all cooing and reaching for the small bundle of gray fluff in L's arms. By the time they arrived at Roger's door there was so much love for the little feline that if he had said no, Roger would have had a dozen children throwing tantrums in his office. Perhaps knowing that was the real deciding factor, or maybe he would have said yes in either case, but Ghost acquired a new home, and the children of the Asylum acquired a new pet.
Though, while Ghost was collectively the 'Asylum's cat', Sophie had claimed him first and most fervently. This was fine so far as Ghost was concerned. He was an exceptionally affectionate kitten, but he liked Sophie in particular, following her, sleeping in her lap, begging from her more than anyone else for scraps of dinner. And Sophie was taking it upon herself to see after everything to do with Ghost. His feeding, his play, his grooming, even the distasteful task of the litter box, she was the one who dealt with it, not allowing anyone else to take the chore away from her. It seemed a rather fanatical attitude to take, but L was rather grateful for it.
The investigation into the 'haunted attic' had been, for the most part, a distraction technique. L knew that Sophie was getting curious about his frequent absences from the Asylum, she was smart, and could be incredibly stubborn about what she set her mind on. The way she was going, eventually she would either figure it out for herself or simply pester it out of him, and he was determined she not do so.
When Mr. Wammy had discovered L using the limited internet access the Asylum had to solve real-life, grown-up crimes from a distance, L had been sure he would be angry, but instead he'd been flabbergasted. Then, as the reality of it sunk in, he'd had the notion to set L to more of them, closer to the scenes. Not on them, obviously, no one would allow a child onto a crime scene, but closer, in order to get a better feel for the crimes committed. L worked on those cases presented to him by Mr. Wammy, and he solved them for the aging man… and he had fun. They were real cases, involving real people, and the stakes were all very real, but the added pressure only made it that much more enjoyable. It was the kind of thing L had been looking for.
Except Mr. Wammy insisted that no one at the Asylum other than themselves were to know. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the children themselves knowing, he explained, but who might hear from them who it was solving cases that experienced adults couldn't. Besides which, maintaining this falsehood would be good training for the future, when duplicity would become something he needed.
All of which made him especially appreciative of Ghost. The little fluff ball was the perfect distraction for Sophie. While L was gone, he doubted she even noticed anymore, she was so preoccupied with the kitten. Not to say he wasn't still careful, but now it was considerably easier to slip in and out unnoticed.
Though, when he was at the Asylum, Ghost made sure Sophie always found him. The only person who could compete with Sophie for Ghost's affection was L. Whenever he was near the kitten sought him out and firmly planted himself on his lap or across his shoulders. L's already poor posture was developing into a definite stoop in order to accommodate the cat, who enjoyed acting as a live scarf.
At the moment, Ghost was curled quite contentedly in L's lap, his tiny purring body providing one spot of warmth in the early autumn chill. L, fingers of one hand absently stroking his fuzzy ears, had sat himself on the kitchen stoop, which included a couple of uncomfortable stone steps. From there he could see the little wooded part of the Asylum grounds, where even now the leaves were turning the color of flames and sunsets. Before too long they would all fall, leaving skeletal trees reaching for heaven, as though pleading with some god to return their foliage. And the silent pleas would be heard, the sky would cover them and the rest of the world in a protective mantle of white…
Ghost stretched in his sleep, extending his claws, tiny pink mouth gaping so wide it was a wonder his head didn't split entirely. L yawned in sympathy and shivered.
Something heavy, soft and warm dropped over L's head, startling him.
"I might have expected it," said a familiar voice behind him. "All summer long you stay indoors, but first cold day and where are you? Freezing on the back steps."
Sophie, wearing her ever-present dress accompanied with a coat, long socks and a pair of thick soled shoes came beside him and sat down on his step. L reached up and struggled into the coat she'd dropped on his head.
"I suppose the only thing that could have made it better is if it was raining, huh?" She raised an eyebrow at him. Lately she had been trying to act and sound more adult, usually with the result of looking ridiculous, but some expressions she tried worked surprisingly well. She looked down at Ghost, still napping happily. She tickled an ear, earning a flick and an increase in the volume of his purring. "You're meant to keep him from acting silly, not encourage him, Ghosty."
The kitten sighed without opening his eyes. Sophie giggled, L smiled. He'd never had a pet before, but this little puffball was steadily worming his way into his heart.
"Ghost can hardly be blamed for any foolish behavior," L said. He smiled at Sophie. "I was much too strong for him."
Sophie grinned back. "Of course you were. You know, we should see if Roger would get him a scratching post. The kind of thing that had the shelves and things so he can climb?"
"I don't know… wouldn't that teach him to climb on things he shouldn't?"
"Well, it's better than not having anything for him he's allowed to climb, isn't it?"
Sitting on the back stoop, the two of them launched into a discussion of the pros and cons of various pet accessories, including the jungle gym, a dedicated cat bed, collars, catnip and many kinds of toys while the object of conversation continued to doze, oblivious to all.
L enjoyed times like this, when he could talk about small things that only mattered to the few people it directly touched. He liked to talk about laidback things, things that made him feel as though he had put down roots and was secure. It was a sensation he was unfamiliar with, but one he had longed for quite some time. It filled him with a kind of ache. Talking about cat toys, huddled up in his coat on the back step of his home, surrounded by the changing trees and with the far-off scent of wood smoke, he felt secure, comfortable, happy, even. He had a home, and he was truly beginning to feel that he had a small family he could call his own; Mr. Wammy, Sophie, and now Ghost.
Without realizing, a slow smile crept onto his face as he spoke, so that he was grinning at Sophie. Whether she consciously noticed it or not, she began to smile as well, until they were both grinning like pumpkins over nothing. Ghost purred between them.
It could have gone on forever.
Later, L couldn't have said what made Ghost suddenly sit up, staring out at the tree line. It could have been a sound, or perhaps the wind had shifted, bringing an errant odor undetectable to the two humans. For whatever reason, Ghost's head came up like a shot; he sighted out and focused on some distant target, and was off of L's lap in an instant, streaking toward the woods in a gray blur.
For a moment, L didn't understand, and sat staring after him with spread, empty hands – then Sophie was on her feet, sprinting after the kitten, skirt and hair flying out behind her as she called out after him. L was up only a second after her, but even that gave her a lead. She was fast, a second's head start gave her several yards, just as another second gave Ghost the advantage over both of them.
It was useless, and L knew it was useless to hope to catch a cat, even a young one, in full flight. He was probably chasing a squirrel, but as soon as he realized he was so far from home, and being chased, he would panic. Right now he wasn't avoiding them, but in a panic, he would be. They might never see him again, but it would be useless to try and get Sophie to stop.
So he ran. He ran as hard as he ever had to keep both the flying skirts and flicking tail within sight.
The lawn was crossed in the blink of an eye, Ghost, Sophie, and finally L crossed the threshold of branches into the woods. Sophie was still calling shrilly for him to stop, stop, come back, but Ghost paid no heed, he was charging ahead full tilt, but dodging trees and undergrowth was starting to slow him. Unfortunately, it was slowing L and Sophie as well.
A branch caught L's ankle, making him stumble. He caught himself before going down completely, but he lost all the ground he'd gained on Sophie and then some. Sophie was finally closing the gap between herself and the cat, slowly but surely. Ghost seemed to be noticing where he was at last, and that he was in unfamiliar territory. Sophie, seeing she was getting closer, saved her breath and poured on the speed, determined to catch her beloved kitten.
L saw it, saw where it was Sophie's next steps would land. He saw, recognized what it was, and knew what would happen—
L's cry for Sophie to stop, stop, stop, just stop got her to turn her head back to him, but she was going too fast to stop in time—
-her right foot came down – hard – on the half-covered, half-rotted cover of an old well—
-a wet, crackling snap and a brief, terrified scream—
And she was gone.
L managed to break in time to keep from plunging in after her. He dropped to his knees before the well's edge, screaming down into the darkness for Sophie. The hole was black, smelled of earth, water and mildew as old, trapped air wafted into his face. He couldn't see at all, and after a moment he realized he didn't hear anything, either. No calls back to him, no sounds of struggle or splashing at the bottom.
Calling down what he was doing, L picked up a stray pebble, and keeping it as close to the edge as possible to avoid hitting Sophie, dropped it.
It took a long time to land. And when it did, it was a long, long way off from the top. It was dry, there was no splash. Whatever water he smelled was from a puddle's worth at best.
A long fall, a hard landing, no replying calls… L felt suddenly numb.
A small, piteous meow made him look down. Ghost stared up at him, big eyes full of confusion. L picked him up, held him close to his chest—
And started to cry.
For more than two weeks, no one had seen L at all. He had never been social, and to see him even in passing was considered an event, but for fifteen days the boy had been invisible. Though, to be fair, hardly anyone noticed L was missing because they were attending a funeral, for many their first ever. Many only noticed L wasn't around when he wasn't at the service itself.
Personally, L thought they were more likely to notice Ghost's absence than his.
He didn't visit the grave of his friend until three days after the site had been filled. Bundled in a coat, L stared at the harsh granite slab. Mr. Wammy a few paces respectfully behind him and Ghost, who pined pathetically whenever L left him alone, was snuggled warmly against his chest under the coat.
The Sleeper Awakens
1980 – 1988
'Sophia Chadwick'… The longer L stared at the names, cut cold and deep into the gray stone, the less sense they made, the less they seemed to belong to his friend. Whoever this 'Sophia Chadwick' was, it wasn't anyone he knew. It wasn't the same Sophie he would sneak sweets with, or who hated the freckles on her nose, or who would twiddle the buttons on her vest until they came loose. It wasn't the Sophie who only ate broccoli raw, or who liked to draw clouds more than houses, or who would huff in frustration at L's speeches. They weren't the same, because Sophie wasn't dead. She would walk around a corner or pop out of a closet, would be waiting for him as she always was, to shadow him and share exploits…
Except she wouldn't. Coldly, he knew she wouldn't. Sophie was dead; cold and dead and buried beneath his feet. She was gone, and he was still alive.
As L stared at the stone, his eyes travelled to the short epitaph: "The Sleeper Awakens". That had been something of L's added to Sophie's gravestone, something he had remembered when asked by Mr. Wammy and Roger for something special for the stone. How she believed that when one died, they were only waking from the dream that was life and awaiting the sleepers who remained.
"I'm not sad that they're dead," she'd said once about her parents. "I'm sad because they're not with me."
L wished he could believe as she had.
It just all seemed so… so pointless. One second she was there, the next she was gone. A single step in the wrong place and all of her future life was snuffed out. Why? Why was she gone, whose fault was it? Did he blame Ghost, for leading the merry chase into the deadly woods? Did he blame whatever it was that made Ghost tear into the trees? Or did he blame himself, for not trying to stop her mad dash sooner? It could have saved her life, and he'd failed.
L bit his lip, his eyes stinging. She hadn't deserved to die. No one hated her, no one, yet she was dead. All without a final word, without warning. L tried to remember that day, but for some reason couldn't remember the exact last words she had said to him. That bothered him.
A hand touched his shoulder. He didn't jump; he was too far within himself to be startled. L tilted his head back and up to look into the face of his mentor. It was a kind face, framed by silver-gray hair and adorned with the gentle creases of a man who had smiled much when he was younger. He looked back down on his protégé, not smiling, but silently offering his support.
"What do I do, Quillish?" L asked, readjusting his grip on Ghost. "How… What do I do?"
For a moment, the elder man didn't reply. Then he shook his head. "There's nothing you can do, L. Sometimes…" he shrugged. "Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no reason at all."
L stared up at him, young eyes heavy as lead, mouth in a serious, straight line. "That's not fair," he said at last. He turned back to the gravestone. "That's not justice."
Mr. Wammy bowed his head in apparent acknowledgement of this bout of childish logic. For a time the three of them stood in silence, lost in thought. Absently, L stroked Ghost from beneath the coat. He couldn't help but notice that his purr had gotten much quieter since…
The boy looked up again to see Mr. Wammy holding out a small box to him. When he glanced at him in question, Mr. Wammy shrugged. "We found this in her room. It looks like a gift for you, probably a birthday present. It is October, after all."
For a minute L didn't take it. He thought about refusing it, unsure if he wanted any gifts from Sophie postmortem. It would seem wrong to his sensibilities. But then again… L looked at the grave, as though seeking reassurance.
Not taking her final gift, disposing of it like common garbage, would be even worse.
The box wasn't wrapped, there was no bow. Apparently there had been no time, and it remained a plain cardboard affair. Inside there was a—
L stared at it in silence. Inside there was a small, round cutout of black, heavy construction paper. Glued atop was a slightly smaller circle of white. On that, directly in the center, was a large 'L'. Around the edges, arranged so the words were always right side up and not infringing on the 'L,' were the words 'Agent of Justice'.
L's vision blurred and his hands shook a little as he lifted out the small gift, and then realized there was a safety pin attached to the back. It was a badge.
Pinning it to his shirt front, L sniffled – sniffles all due to the cold, he told himself – and then held Ghost closer. "I am justice," he said to the air. "And I'll see to it there will never be such injustice or unfairness in this world, ever again."
Ghost purred a little louder, Mr. Wammy smiled behind his back.
"As you say, L."
A/N2: Aaand done. Yay. Just a few last notes…
Wammy's 'Asylum': Calling an orphanage an asylum, which just meant a place of refuge, not necessarily an insane asylum, is just my way of differentiating this version of Wammy's from what it eventually becomes. L and Watari are here, but the orphanage hasn't turned into a training ground as yet. That and I liked how 'Wammy Asylum' sounded. :P
Age 16: In the beginning Sophie is thinking to herself and thinks of how she'll be leaving the orphanage when she turns 16. For those who are unaware (my fellow US peeps, for the most part, I think) in the UK age 16 is parallel to age 18 in the US. In other words, legal for and to do just about everything, including leaving home without your parent's consent. (Apparently if you're under 17, Family Services can give you some trouble, but I'm not sure what goes into that.)
L's Bloodlines: When Sophie was trying to judge what nationality L was I went with saying he might have been Asian not because he's from an anime, but because of something said in the 'How to Read, volume 13'. There, Mr. Ohba says that he thought of L as being 'a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian, and… maybe a quarter French or Italian.' Heck of a mix, there. Page 59 if you don't believe me.
L's Present: RainingArrows wanted a memento… this is what I came up with (lame). It was assumed it was for L's birthday because it was October, and L's birthday is October 31st, Halloween!
Brain Facts: All true. And what L says later in the series is true (to an extent) as well, the more you use your brain, the more energy and calories are used up. To survive, the brain only burns 0.1 calories per minute, while during crossword solving, it can burn up to 1.5. No wonder L's so thin, despite the sweets. Remember this when you're studying, kids!
Hope you all enjoyed, folks, especially you, RainingArrows. I'm sorry it took so very, very long!
…now back to NaNoWriMo…